I have been a catechist in the Level III atrium since 1992 at Christian Family Montessori School for both the in-school atrium and the after-school program. During this time, as I began to understand the needs and interests of the 9-12-year-old children, I developed a significant collection of materials for prayer and meditation. These materials, along with a selection of art supplies, have become the backbone of their work in the atrium. I ask them to begin their time there with prayer, supported by one of these materials if desired. They often return to these works later in the session or week as well. I introduce a few early in the year, and upon request throughout the year. Below is a description of the materials on our shelf at CFMS, as well as their use.
These three part language cards explore some basic concepts about faith, religion, and religious tolerance.
They include fact, belief, opinion, superstition, faith, monotheist, atheist, prejudice, religous freedom and more.
Use these to make these important clarifications with your children ages nine and up for discussions of history, society, science and faith.
Created by Montessorian Patricia Brown. Used with permission.
When Annie was born 33 years ago, Judy Main gave our family the gift of four Messianic prophecies written in her own beautiful calligraphy. I mounted these on purple poster board, and added yellow art paper that would form a star when all four prophecies were posted together on our dining room wall.
Music has a very important place in the prayer of children and life in the CGS atrium. To encourage the use of good music and lyrics, Treehaus Communications, musicians in Nashville, and catechist/formation leader Catherine Maresca created Sing With Joy and Songs of Love, two books with a CD of age- and theme-appropriate music for the atrium. For CGS Course Leaders, we want to help you bring good music to your courses. We would like to offer the following music in PDF files for free download.
For several years two methods of religious education that use a Montessori method of teaching have been available to Christian Educators. These programs are Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Godly Play. Due to the similarities in the way material is presented to children, Christian Educators often ask what is the difference between the two? My purpose in writing this paper is to outline some differences between Godly Play and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
The end of the catechetical year is the perfect time to sit in the quiet atrium and evaluate your space. Every environment can be improved in some way, according to the materials it holds, the children it serves, and the preferences and gifts of the catechists. While some group space is important, especially with older children, it is vital that the room and its furnishings be organized primarily around the work of the children.
Two articles by Catherine Maresca
Sojourners is an organization whose mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church and the world.
Sojourners is a nonpartisan leader that convenes, builds alliances among, and mobilizes people of faith, focusing on racial and social justice, life and peace, and environmental stewardship. The director of the Center for Children and Theology has been published in Sojourners magazine twice.
Article by Catherine Maresca exploring A Curriculum for Young Children
Sewanee Theological Review is published by The University of the South's School of Theology in Sewanee, Tennessee. The quarterly publication is one of the most important contemporary journals of theological reflection. Catherine Maresca, director of the Center for Children and Theology, was invited to publish articles in STR in their Michaelmas 2005 issue, exploring Children and the Kingdom: Education and Formation. Catherine's article, A Curriculum for Young Children: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
When we address the spirituality of childhood, we are confronted with the tragic reality that at least one in four girls and one in five boys in America experience sexual abuse during childhood. Basic trust has been broken in childhood sexual trauma, invoking questions such as, “How can God be there?. Hughes relates places within the Christian tradition that offered her doorways into faith and healing.